Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says he is “hopeful” that China doesn’t follow through on retaliatory tariffs planned for U.S. agriculture products on Dec. 15.
China is set to place levies of 10 percent on more than 700 U.S. agriculture products and 5 percent tariffs on over 2,000 products if the U.S. goes forward with new duties on Chinese imports slated to hit the same day.
“We would love to have some resolution,” Perdue told FOX Business’ Kristina Partsinevelos exclusively.
As negotiations progress on a trade agreement addressing months of conflict between the two countries, Chinese President Xi Jinping has waived tariffs on U.S. soybeans and pork and ramped up purchases of the former.
"Maybe that’s a good faith signal," Perdue said. "We hope it is."
U.S. farmers have been a casualty of the trade dispute, seeing soybean shipments to China, their biggest customer, dwindle to zero in late 2018 and early 2019 as Beijing retaliated for Washington's tariffs.
President Trump extended two separate lifelines to U.S. farmers in an effort to cushion the blow. In May, He provided $16 billion of aid originally and in July, he announced another $16 billion package.
The president is set to meet with U.S. trade negotiators at the White House on Thursday to discuss the 15 percent tariffs planned for $160 billion of Chinese products at 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday. The administration has insisted that it's set to move full speed ahead with the duties.
But Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday that the tariffs likely won't be imposed. Such an outcome would be welcomed by America's farmers.
“Farmers would rather have trade than aid, and we hope we get trade with that China deal," Perdue said.